As a childcare provider, children’s health and safety is a top priority for you, along with their learning and development. Ongoing health and safety training ensures that your center meets high-quality standards and that your staff is well equipped to care for children. In this article, we’ll discuss health and safety training requirements for childcare providers such as pediatric first aid, CPR, and other preventative training.
Why are health and safety important in childcare?
Caring for children is a tremendous responsibility. One of the main hallmarks of a high-quality childcare program is a safe and productive learning environment. This type of environment not only allows your daily business operations to run efficiently, but the children in your care also have better learning outcomes when their health and safety is prioritized.
Creating a culture of health and safety at your childcare center starts with making sure you and your staff have the proper education and training on key health and safety topics. Training in things like pediatric first aid, pediatric CPR, and emergency preparedness, and procedures like daily health screening ensure the well-being of the children and staff in your program and help mitigate unsafe situations or conditions.
What are health and safety requirements?
While the specific health and safety requirements for operating a childcare center vary by state, they all aim to provide a safe and healthy environment where children can learn and receive the best care. State childcare licensing regulations are designed to protect the health and safety of children at childcare facilities and ensure that programs are monitored for compliance. This helps minimize potentially dangerous situations and ensures that staff is properly trained to care for children.
In addition, many states require providers to complete qualifications like early care and education training, before working in or operating a childcare program. Health and safety training often includes basic requirements and qualifications for ongoing training hours.
It's also important to include health and safety regulations in your family handbook so families know you are complying with all regulations and that your staff's training is up-to-date. When you hire new staff, develop a strong onboarding plan for your newest team members that provides a complete overview of your center's health and safety policies.
Preventative health and safety training
Preventative training activities encompass several health and safety topics, including:
- First aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
- Administration of medication
- Care of sick children
- Child abuse and neglect prevention and reporting
- Fire safety
- Hand washing
- Prevention and control of infectious diseases (including immunization)
- Safe sleep practices and reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Prevention of abusive head trauma and child mistreatment
- Emergency preparedness and response planning
- Prevention of and response to emergencies caused by food allergies
- Indoor and outdoor safety including protection from hazards, bodies of water, and traffic
- Transportation safety, if applicable
Additional training areas that focus on nutrition and age-appropriate feeding, child development, caring for children with special needs, access to physical activity, and more may be optional or required by your state.
Pediatric first aid
Many childcare programs require that staff and educators complete in-person pediatric first aid training and certification. Since infant’s and children’s bodies are still forming and smaller than adults, delivering first aid to a baby or child is different from adult first aid. That is why it is important to receive specific pediatric training.
Pediatric first aid covers a wide range of conditions, including but not limited to:
- External bleeding and severe trauma
- Allergic reactions
- Asthma emergencies
- Diabetic emergencies
Pediatric CPR requires slight variations compared to adult CPR to accommodate the difference in size, weight, and bone density of children and infants compared to adults. Pediatric CPR training teaches you:
- Automated external defibrillator (AED) use
- How to help a choking infant or child
Free health and safety training for childcare providers
Free training resources are available on a variety of health and safety topics. For example, your local YMCA or state’s resource agency may offer free preventative health and safety training.
The learning platform Alison also offers a free online course that focuses on child care health and safety. Organizations like the American Red Cross also offer low-cost in-person and online only pediatric first aid and CPR classes to individuals and organizations. In addition, they have free resources on their website such as step-by-step guides you can print out for reference.
Protect your children and center with health and safety training
Daycare should be both a valuable and safe experience for children as they learn life and social skills. As a daycare provider, take the time to understand what your responsibilities are and implement policies and requirements to create a safe environment. From training and certifications to employee screenings and facility policies, taking the proper steps ensures your business and children are in safe hands.